From: http://eng.pozdnyakov.com/inner.php?current=114 Stanislav POZDNYAKOV: let’s wait until the next fight “A&F on the Ob”, October the 27'th, 2004 Stanislav POZDNYAKOV: let’s wait until the next fight This is how decided the Novosibirsk sabre fencer – four times Olympic champion, bronze winner of the Athens Olympics. After an unsuccessful performance of our sabre team in Greece, when the Russians took only bronze, our team might have lost its leader, for Pozdnykov is already 31. But the Russians never give in – read about this in “A&F on the Ob”. Stanislav, a year ago precisely you said that right after the Athens Olimpics you would make a decision concerning your further career. The main question, I would say, which agitates the Russian sports supporters is – are you remaining in sport? S.P.: Yes, I’ve made my mind. I’ll most likely continue my sports career. Though I haven’t started trainings yet – the season, which follows the Olympic one, starts later, than usually. The first stage of the World Cup will be held in Budapest in February, that’s why I’m on leave till December. What principle conclusions have you made after the Athens Games? S.P.: I think we didn’t make any solid slip as we were getting ready for the Athens. Probably we got in peak form a bit too early and were a little at a decline during the Games. Here a small mistake might have occurred. Generally speaking, what happened in Greece, was rather natural. Olimpic Games are such competitions where a good luck mostly accompanies young sportsmen. It is easier for them to perform, because nobody expects highest results from them, so they feel freer on the lane. And succeed. Though a burden of responsibility impedes experienced sportsmen (me too) to show themselves at their full capacities. In the view of fighting techniques and tactics, we were prepared well during the whole season. Though in individuals, I got a rival who I hadn’t met before, and this didn’t add confidence, so I made several tactic mistakes. Speaking of team competitions, what had to happen – happened. The team, which hadn’t lost a tournament during four years, sooner or later was doomed to loss. Of course, it’s a pity it took place at the Olympics. But now, when the heat of the moment is behind, I wouldn’t make a tragedy out of this. Yes, we had a bad luck there. All the same, we remain one of the most powerful sabre team in the world. We’ve got strong moral and will, which were demonstrated at the fight for the third place. You once said that at the Sidney Olympics your rivals were afraid to meet you. Did you feel the same in Athens? S.P.: No, I didn’t. You know, the team of the 2000 sample was stronger. And younger. We were 25-27 and in our best shape. Moreover very often the success of the team depends on the third number. His sure play helps gain that strategical advantage, which the leader doesn’t let lose in the final fight. As you know, the team–mates tune up to the leader. In Sidney, we had such third number – Alexey Frosin – but lately we haven’t got a sportsmen of such level. There are two equal fencers in the team at present, Alexey Dyachenko and Alexey Yakimenko. They were both at the third position, but none of them could play reliably. Previously the team-mates could stand by each other, but we haven’t done this lately, and our rivals felt this perfectly. How much does the result of the duel depend on the referees? Are you satisfied with the judging at the Athens Olimpics? S.P.: Judging as a whole was fairly good. Generally speaking, fencing is rather a subjective kind of sport. More depends here on the referee, than, say , in football. But at the same time not so much as in gymnastics. As for the judging in Athens, nothing bad can be said by me – it was the best in the last four years. In comparison with the Australian Olympics our national team won fewer gold medals. Many consider this fact as one more provement of the crisis in the Russian sport. What’s your opinion? S.P.: I won’t speak globally– I’m not keenly aware of the situation in all sports. As for fencing, a decline is here and it is natural. The main load lies heavy on the aged sportsmen, but not a little star has risen from the young in these four years. There are many talented people, but none has become a leader yet. If such a tendency lasts, I’m afraid we can lose what we have now. Your achievements suggest that the main thing for you is victory, but not just participation. In any competition. Does it show itself in your life? S.P.: Naturally, life is more complicated than fencing, a small sports specialization. But I always strive for having a positive result, a win. Coming out onto the lane – what can it be compared with? Is it a stress? S.P.: It depends on your physical and psychological state at the moment. Plus your rival can be “comfortable” or “uncomfortable”. That’s why each coming out is accompanied with different emotions, which I would distinguish in view of confidence and uncertainty. The state can be compared with a stress, especially if the level of the competition is high. Now, when I’ve left four Olympics behind, I can say that the biggest stress for me was my first Games in Barcelona, in 1992 when I was 18. Well, and the Athens Olympics too, because we had been training for them for a long time and were going to win. But as a result, the psychological tension prevented us from realising our potential in full. Have you ever had a sort of confessions to yourself – here, I’ll be satisfied with a place in the three, and here I’ll just practise? S.P.: I’d love to, this might be reasonable. But my psychological purposes, the tasks to win at any competition don’t let me relax. Perhaps, to the detriment of the global result, such as at the Olympics or World Cup. You became Master of Sports at the age of 16. You are 31 now, and you are a four times Olympic champion. What has sport given to you? S.P.: My victories gave me confidence. Sport let me meet good people, made me mature and erudite. Due to sport I earn my living. Travelled round the world a lot. Practically everything that I achieved in my life was connected with sport. Sportsmen in masks seem to be enigmatical, determined, cool-headed and even cruel sometimes. S.P.: Oh no. In real life we have to communicate with people without a mask, that’s why we become more vulnerable. It’s nothing but a joke, though ... many a true word is spoken in jest. I don’t think I’m a cruel person or even strict. I’m rather loyal, sometimes – hasty. A certain sharpness is probably caused by the fact that I’m a sabre fencer, a representative of the most active kind of fencing. But what was earlier, my nature or sport – it’s like the question what was earlier, an egg or a hen. Sportsmen often have to deny themselves passions for some food. Do you often have to keep yourself in check? Which dishes do you like most of all? S.P. : Not very often, I guess, but sometimes, yes, especially at the beginning of the trainings for the season. I have to limit the amount of farinaceous foods, pasta, potatoes. But when you are in a constant stress before an important competition, you may eat as much as you want, you’ll never gain weight, on the contrary, you’ll lose it. As it is, I’m not choosy in food, so I can’t say what I prefer and what I don’t. You spend 120 days a year in Moscow at trainings. Have you ever had a thought to move to the capital? S.P.: I have never taken such an opportunity seriously, as I’ve understood that Novosibirsk is my life, but Moscow and all the rest are my work. It’s like a camp for me, I spend much time out of home. Nevertheless, having lived all my life like this, I feel quite comfortable and don’t want to change anything. What’s Novosibirskfor you? You’ve been to many countries. Your main victories were won in other cities... S.P.: Novosibirsk is my birthplace. I was born here not only as a human being, but also as a sportsman. Here I got my education, both basic and of life’s. It’s my motherland, the place where I’m always awaited and loved, regardless the results of my sports career. Here I’m not a stranger for sports fans, I’m familiar to them, and it’s very important to me, for I’ll always be a stranger in Moscow, New York or Paris. Moreover I’ve got a feeling of a certain link with Novosibirsk’s buildings, houses, parks, not only with people. The thoughts of home help me when I’m far away from it. Among the other sports you prefer ice hockey, as far as I know. Do you follow the performances of the team of Novosibirsk? What is the reason for an unsuccessful start of “Sibir” in this season, in your opinion? S.P.: Yes, ice-hockey and alpine skiing. As for “Sibir” , go to watch almost every game played by them. As a sports fan, I think that the decision of conditional closing of the Superleague could have led to the present situation (none of the teams will leave the Superleague this season – M.B.), the players might not be doing their best or something is going wrong. It happends. But I’m judging as an amateur. In general, I believe that any chain of bad lucks ends some day, and everything will be OK , otherwise I wouldn’t attend hockey matches. You were writing a Ph.D thesis on a junior sabre fencers national team training. What’s the fate of this work? Have you got the Ph.D degree yet? S.P.: No. I had to interrupt my work on this thesis. It was caused by the training for the Olympics. Also in my opinion the thesis has become a little bit out of date for the moment. I’m going to work on it in the future. You studied 9 years at the Universities, first at the Novosibirsk State Technical University, then at the Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University. You had already been an Honoured Master of Sport and a member of the national team by that time. What was this striving for studying caused by? S.P.: The matter is that all my family are people who got a higher education, and I believe that I can’t break the family tradition. To add to this, I promised my parents (though it happened when I was a schoolboy) that fencing won’t prevent me from studying well. Later on it became difficult to take that promise serious, nevertheless, my conscience is clear in this question. Academical education is important as it is, but futher learning from other various sources is even more important. Simply speaking – one shouldn’t only watch soap operas or sports channel, but be interested in the whole life, things that happen around. It’s generally agreed that sportsmen are narrow-minded people, so years ago I made my mind to pay attention to self-education, not to fall into this category of sportsmen. What do you see your life after your sports career is over? S.P.: I can’t say definitely at the moment. Anyway, I guess I’ll remain in sport, my knowledge and experience will be of use for further generations of sabre fencers. In my soul, I’m getting myself ready for this now. We’ve already talked about towns. Which of them turned to be the most lucky regarding sports achievements? S.P.: Nancy in France. I won five out of six stages of the World Cup here. Though there won’t be such competitions next season in this town. What about Beijing? Isn’t it on your lucky sities list? S.P.: Unfortunately, I haven’t been to Beijing. Anyhow your decision to continue the sports career suggests your training for the next Olympics, which will be held in Beijing in 2008, doesn’t it? S.P.: No doubt, I will prepare for the Olympics. But a little remark should be made. I’m not in my twenties already, so it’s not easy to plan for four years in advance. Fisrt, the probability of getting trauma rises as years pass, secondly, again because of the age, any trauma can unsettle you for long. Thirdly, now I can’t say I’m pressed out by young sportsmen, but I wouldn’t like to take somebody’s place in future. If the youth at least match my level during this period, I’ll surely give place to them, for it would be deceitfully for sport and for fencing to hold young guys back. On the other hand, a place in the national team is not kept for anybody, it should be conquered. If nothing of the mentioned circumstances happen – will you participate in the Olympics-2008? S.P.: Yes, I’m eager to do so. Now, when the passions of the Athens have subsided, a healthy sports rage is here. Of course, one may say it’s a wish to swing the fists after the fight, nevertheless – let’s wait until the next fight Maxim BUGAEV.